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If You Keep Yourself Busy, You Won’t Be Depressed?

November 19, 2013 Natasha Tracy

Another mental illness myth: If you keep yourself busy, you won't be depressed. More at Breaking Bipolar blog.

Twice lately I have heard people say that the secret to curing depression is just keeping yourself wickedly busy. If you’re busy enough, they say, you’ll have no time to be depressed. (I didn’t realize that one needed to book an appointment for depression.)

This, of course, is absolutely hogwash and just one of the dumb ideas that people with no experience with major depression have. It’s just one of the ideas we have to politely roll our eyes at and then get on with the business of actually treating our depressions.

Being “Busy Enough” to Stop Depression

In case you were wondering, I’m one of the busiest people I know. If you understood the amount of writing I produce on a weekly basis, you would get it. I write for five separate websites multiple times per week and have assignments in between all of that. Many writers would be happy to write one article in a day. I, some days, have to write five. Plus manage social media accounts, answer email, respond to queries and do a bunch of other independent contractor-y type things. I typically work seven days a week.

Believe me when I tell you: I’m busy.

Oh yeah, and I still get depressed.

Being Busy and Depressed

So my cousin said to me in response to the above advice, “Yes, because nothing makes you feel better than an overflowing to-do list that you can’t accomplish.”

Point well taken. Being overly busy can absolutely make a person more depressed, not less. Being stressed out all the time trying to make sure you can fit 20 hours into a 16 hour day definitely doesn’t positively affect a person’s mental health (or mental illness).

Being Depressed Isn’t about Time or Being Busy In It

I don’t know why I have to say this but apparently I do: being depressed isn’t about having too much time on your hands. If that were the case then everyone in monasteries would need antidepressants. Being depressed is about having a sick brain and your brain can get sick with a full schedule or an empty one, kind of like you can get the flu with a full schedule or an empty one too. (No one ever says if you just keep busy you won’t get the flu.)

Now, I will say that sometimes people tend to cocoon in life and withdraw from everyone and everything and this can make a pre-existing depression worse. No argument here. But the underlying problem isn’t their lack of busyness it’s the messed up bits of their brain which causes the desire for the lack of busyness – not the other way around.

Keep the Sage Advice to Yourself

What I really want to say is: keep your sage wisdom to yourself unless you happen to be an expert on mental illness. Because this “sage wisdom” just ticks people off and makes people feel bad about themselves (As in, oh, he’s saying that I’m doing something wrong because I’m depressed. It’s my fault.). And believe me, we feel bad enough about being sick as it is.

And we have enough to handle without fending off ignorance. We have meds and doctors and waiting rooms and appointments and symptoms and side effects and we just don’t need anything more.

So the next time you feel like telling a sick person what will cure them, don’t. Just don’t.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2013, November 19). If You Keep Yourself Busy, You Won’t Be Depressed?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2013/11/keep-yourself-busy-wont-depressed



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Dave Evans
says:
September, 18 2017 at 4:11 pm
Hi Natasha and other readers,
I am depressed, maybe manical but functioning and trying to get on with my life. I am 'OK' when I am busy but I still have massive problems with sleeping, waking and just functioning.
I am in a position where I have a rotation for work, so I have six months off a year. Previous to this I have had no time off - at all, in a high stress non forgiving job. I make no excuses for myself but I have been depressed for a very long time yet people who work with me note my happy/smiling disposition.
That being said I am getting worse. I am, due to factors in my life getting divorced and have a young son. The wife and I are divorcing having worked together in very close confines for 20 years.
I have lost my best friend and confidant by my own actions in pushing her away with verbal abuse and projection of my self hate for being abused at school (age 4 to 11).
I have had counselling and we tried to fix things but it seems I am just not worth living with despite providing and being there for what was my family.
Having met professionals in my case against the school I attended, I have tried therapy but still I had a breakdown.
I am described by my friends (and ex wife) as up and down in mood, and I sometimes can move mountains and the next day I am unable to make a sandwich.
My latest health care professional has suggested I have a lower form of maic depression and now I am actually scared and depressed.
I would like to ask if you have any suggestions for me for moving on? I am in no way endangering myself or others but want to get a grip and not be so up and down.
I would appreciate any advice. Thanks
D
Ebbie
says:
June, 21 2017 at 1:37 pm
I stay busy doing for others spending time with my grandchildren to help me make it daily since the loss of my son
sarah
says:
January, 18 2017 at 3:53 am
time,the one thing that keeps me going right now is a time when i feel better again.
sarah
says:
January, 18 2017 at 3:51 am
I admire your approach to dealing with your life.u have been dealt some raw deals but still have come out fighting.the past is gone and we dont know what will happen in the future.we can do something with today,theres options.either lie down and give up or stay going.
Im fighting depression 17 years,not being depressed all that ti
JohnT
says:
January, 17 2017 at 6:58 pm
Hi Sarah. I hit rock bottom in 2014. Then later went through a divorce via deception and lies. Then business losses thru trust that later backfired. Trust is nowhere for me. Anxiety and depression were at my highest levels ever. But recently I have been feeling better. I try to focus only on today. I try very hard to forget the past and quickly quit worrying about the future. The past is done and over and the future I cannot control. Today is it. I am whom I am.

In the morning upon waking I must get out of bed as soon as possible. The longer I lay then depression starts to settle very fast. Once it starts it is usually there the whole day. That is why I must move or do some activity. Usually I begin with a cup of coffee and reading. Then it is either work or a jog.

I asked myself what if I have another 15 years to live. That sounds like a lot, but then not really. Fifteen years is only 5,475 days. Am I going to live 5,475 days in fear and misery, or am I going to try very hard to recover and start living. I decided it is time to fight and start living. Life isn't fair; it never has been. I am far luckier than most. It is one step and one day at a time.

Don't give in. Give it the best. I am going to quit worrying. Anxiety and depression will always be there, but if I can lessen their grip on my life then I have won the race.
sarah
says:
January, 17 2017 at 9:48 am
Tearful,anxious,frustrated,sad
Reminiscing of past times had
Painful memories gather together
Leaving the mind in turbulent weather.
Must keep busy,must keep going,if not life will just shutdown
Stagnant,stale,no joy in this gail.
sarah
says:
January, 17 2017 at 9:37 am
Hi john.i too walk or swim everyday,it helps ease the symptoms.im out of work at the moment so thats probably not helping things.i suppose its a case of faking some motivation before it comes naturally.
JohnT
says:
January, 16 2017 at 6:34 pm
Sarah. Regardless of depression, been there and am there, keeping busy does help. When at apartment too long depression settles in heavy. I have to move. Staleness allows depression to go to chronic levels. To lower depression levels I must jog or walk or work. I also talk to my true friends. I hang out somewhere. It takes time. But keeping busy will lower your symptoms with time.
sarah
says:
January, 16 2017 at 10:26 am
Busy,not busy,depression stays put.
sarah
says:
January, 16 2017 at 10:23 am
Being busy and having goals is good.I find though the depression illness doesnt want me to do anything.i dont feel any joy at the moment and all i want to do is talk to someone constantly about not feeling right.the medication has made me go from completely hopeless to just about hanging in there.
Bill G
says:
January, 13 2017 at 1:39 pm
I think there are different types of "Busy". If the author is referring to running around like a mad man with many balls in the air - I would tend to agree however... having goals and the rigor of focusing on them can be very helpful with my depression.

Of course some of those very goals are also things shown to help with depression - like taking your meds, meditating, exercising etc.

Depression may well be 100% a brain chemistry condition - but there are many ways to alter that chemistry besides pills.

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Neeraj Kakar
says:
October, 1 2016 at 7:15 am
I agree with the article but sitting idle is not going to cure a depression either. .And also at the same time challenge your negative thoughts is a natural way to cure depression.
N
says:
September, 22 2016 at 1:08 pm
Depression shouldn't even be named as depression at all in the first place, because as a commenter said, people confused situational depression with brain chemical induced depression.

Experts should've come up with unconfusing naming. Maybe 'brain flu' or 'brain chemical flu' etc instead of depression or mental illness.

...who put this stupid 'depression' naming in the first place..? It's not only hard for depressed patients themselves, but also for people who need to manage the depressed people's work &amp; social shedules and explanation to involved parties.
Bdhgt
says:
May, 3 2016 at 9:13 am
Well, I try to keep myself busy to stop thinking about my depression and I think it helps me (I haven't really thought about it). I think maybe it just depends on the person? I'm not sure.
lucy
says:
January, 28 2016 at 8:06 am
hi, just wondering is bipolar different from borderline personality disorder?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
January, 28 2016 at 8:36 am
Hi Lucy,

They are completely different. You may wish to read this: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/01/is-bipolar-a-personality-disorder/

- Natasha Tracy
Renita
says:
May, 1 2015 at 4:35 am
There's depression and then there's MAJOR depression. For me when I am in a major depression it's like waves of narcolepsy wash over me and it's literally impossible to do ANYTHING. It's absolutely paralizing. Thank God I've only ever felt that bad once... it landed me in the hospital

But for the most part when I am depressed try to keeping myself busy is a nice diversion from the negative thought patterns that tend to make it worse

Of course the amount of energy I have to do things is always a factor. I find that a lot of the bipolar medications are sedating and zap my energy. They also tend to cause weight gain which makes it harder to get moving
Meagan Johnson
says:
April, 30 2015 at 3:42 pm
I agree that having a super busy DEMANDING schedule will definitely NOT keep you happy, and a lot of times makes it worse, from experience. But for people that have major depression and tend to isolate themselves and do nothing but sit in their room and wallow in their pain, (I'm not being mean, that was me just recently), it helps to keep busy with things you enjoy, like going for walks, biking, drawing, painting, that kind of stuff. Keeping a schedule really helps me stay busy so I don't have time to sit around and let myself wallow in it. The diference is, I busy myself with things that make me HAPPY, not things that are required, or simply work.
Caroline
says:
April, 14 2015 at 8:43 am
I used to suffer from depression.

You have decided that you are a depressive and now your whole life is based around being a depressive. Someone who loves you tells you something like 'you enjoy your 'to do' lists' and you say 'how dare people who don't understand this disease try to cure me'. But the truth is, you enjoy being a depressive now because your whole live is anchored to that. And when your cousin who loves you tells you the truth it disturbs the comfort of the life you've encased yourself in. Of course you're depressed if you spend all your time boring yourself.

You should pack up your whole life, sell it, go travelling for a month, then come back and start again. Press the reset button and decide to be the life and soul of your own party.

You're wonderful, and it scares you so you hide from it.
josh
says:
January, 21 2015 at 3:01 pm
I've got Bi Polar disorder, I've learned over time that if I'm left with my own thoughts at a time when I'm down rather than up - all I want to do is kill myself, I feel like ripping my chest open or smashing my head into a brick wall.

I have to keep myself distracted, on my own with nothing to do and I want to die.

Your point is still valid though, anyone not suffering from this thinks that it's a choice - I wish.
Matsuda
says:
November, 25 2014 at 3:04 pm
So you spend 7 days a week on your computer writing countless blog posts and say you're still depressed? A little diversity and motivation towards what you actually want to do with your life goes a long way. Live your life as if there is no medication. Give yourself a why to live and the how figures itself out. Thinking you have 10 different mental illnesses and running around like a clown from doctor to doctor for medication thinking there's a pill that makes you magically happy without doing anything you want. Such ridiculous wishful thinking. Face something you fear everyday. Grow as an individual. Keep yourself busy with things you ENJOY doing. Spend time with loved ones. Have an overall balanced healthy lifestyle and your "depression" will be kept at bay.
Fawn
says:
November, 22 2014 at 4:49 pm
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 15 years ago. I have also been medicated for those 15 years. I had never not been depressed. In fact, even during my mania I am depressed. I have had suicidal thoughts since I was 11 years old. I had a few attempts and a few ER visits as well as a few hospital stays which were actually suicide watches. I've been a hard worker all my life even with this deep depression and uncontrollable mania. The medications had never improved my depression. Actually, four weeks ago I went to the ER because lithium had been poisoning me for months. My mind and my body suffered greatly. I would have had kidney failure if I hadn't stopped taking it when I did. My pdoc admitted I've been through all the medications. I have not substituted the lithium and for the first time in over 15 years I am not depressed, not suicidal, not angry or agitated. I feel like a great weight has been lifted. But I know it's not going to last. I'm going to cycle as I always do. I just don't understand what made the depression stop and what can I do to keep it that way? I refuse to go on another medication. Especially since lithium was supposed to be my last resort. After all they never helped me, but they always harmed me. Sorry, long story, but nothing was relieving my depression for 15 years. So if something works for you great! But it doesn't mean it will work with everyone. Just be careful with the medications. For me they are awful, but everyone else swears by them. Who knows why? The medical community obviously doesn't. :(
Gareth Bradley
says:
September, 18 2014 at 1:50 am
I think the this article by Natasha is both naive and certainly full of childish tones. Everybody suffers from depression, some more than others but, we all at have moments in our lives where we feel the pain that someone who has been 'diagnosed' with depression suffers on a daily basis. How you cope with it, the hacks you have for yourself in dealing with it, will be as varied and as creative as humans are. As somebody who lives and isolated life, has suffered great loss an generally immerses themselves with internal reflection, I very often book an appointment for depression. I allow myself the time to feel depressed, it's a natural to feel low. However, I know how to lift myself out of it, one of the ways is to keep busy with an activity that requires your attention. Maybe change the music i'm listening to. Meet with others and socialise or just have a chat with myself... Whatever works for you. Don't dismiss ideas because you think somehow your different, you're not, you've just been diagnosed with depression and others haven't.... but everybody suffers.
McAwesome
says:
June, 6 2014 at 9:09 am
"What I really want to say is: keep your sage wisdom to yourself unless you happen to be an expert on mental illness" - here's the thing, if you are a depressed person complaining to a non-depressed person, the non person is going to do their best to help you. They care about you and see you are in pain and they know you are struggling. They are unsure what to say because this is not something they have experienced. They do know that when they are down, when they feel hopeless, being busy, not dwelling and acomplishing things make them feel better. These things are not usually work things. It is usually something creative that has your hands and brain working together. They really are just trying to help. Don't be upset with them. Recognize that they are coming from a postive intentioned place and tell them what will help you. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard "my spouse doesn't support me even though I have xyz" only to realize that they have never told their spouse what they could do to support them. What they could do to help.
Chidanand
says:
May, 5 2014 at 9:53 pm
Really educative. People should realize that Depression is also another disease like diabetes,fever and many more which affect physical health. Depression is a disease of mind which will effect the normal thinking pattern of a person.Though complete cure for these diseases are not available even now, management can be done with medicines.

- RCN
Diane
says:
April, 22 2014 at 12:46 pm
I don't understand what "being busy" has to do with a biochemical problem. It doesn't. That said, I do believe that stimulation does have something to do with recovering from depression.
Judie
says:
February, 4 2014 at 11:22 am
this was a great post Natasha!!
it triggered or maybe just brought up a negative memory of a comment my sister-in-law said to me after i was in hospital after a suicide attempt years ago (pills &amp; alcohol)....i can't remember what exactly i said trying to defend my actions of why it happened....but it came up around the issue of "coping skills??"...she said "oh when i am upset i get out the vacuum &amp; clean"!!! i was taken aback &amp; felt insulted...i replied "well, you were lucky you learned coping skills, in my family we dont' know what that is!!" in other words...i was not impressed by her lack of empathy...or understanding of mental health...don't see her at all these days :)!! She had NO IDEA what issues i was having or wanted to...she was very dismissive &amp; i still find a lot of people in my life that way, especially in my family ... except my sister who understands depression...struggles with it too &amp; anxiety &amp; besides one brother (out of 6) who has sever OCD(&amp;i would put bets on him being bipolar too) we are the only 3 out of 8 kids &amp; parents who acknowledge &amp; understand mental health .... still i lack a lot of support period...not even sure if my antidepressant is really working...not sure what to do about it either...&amp; now last year been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but i believe i also have ADHD &amp; Bipolar in the mix....unfortunatley i haven't had any ONE P-DOC monitor me over the last 11 to really know what's goin on with me...so not doing well at all these days... Thank you for all your posts &amp; comments etc..... i value your knowledge &amp; understanding immensely :)
Judie
Fred Sanders
says:
December, 2 2013 at 4:39 pm
I have spent over three years of my life with hopeless mental illness diagnosis as an In patient mostly my feelings are bias cause from the get go I had my head up my own ass. I have surrendered to treatment and realize that this is a dangerous disorder. All though my diagnosis changes from Doctor to doctor I see myself as a social dependent more than anything else. I also see myself as chemically dependent. And although the diagnosis has changed as my behavior has I am still on the same regiment of medications.I also feel I have recovered from this issue as long as I continue what has to be done.
Andrea
says:
December, 2 2013 at 7:26 am
Depression is terrible. Exercise, healthy eating, taking medication, going to my support group, going to therapy, spending time with friends and loved ones, accomplishing goals I set, and even sitting in front of a therapy light, all help with my depression. I spend a lot of time trying to fight my depression. These things help, but they don't always work. Sometimes I get depressed anyway. Also, these things take a lot of time. If I'm too busy, I don't have time to do the things that keep me well. That is why I am only working part time at this point. I need a lot of time to keep myself well.
Dr Musli Ferati
says:
November, 30 2013 at 8:12 pm
Inasmuch as we try to simplify the problem of depression as behavioral one, it always would remain some misunderstanding on this serious and frequent emotional disorder. Definitively, depression indicates biochemical disturbance of distinct part of our brain, as organ of mind. These disturbance might be healing one by competent psychiatric treatment, even their etiology is still ambiguous. For the time being, we shall be satisfying with complex theory of bio-psycho-social explanation of this mood disorder. Therefore, psychiatric treatment and management of depression should be multimodal one, where antidepressant medication catch the first place. Others psychosocial intervention are welcomed, but psychopharmacologic therapy has got crucial role in current therapy of depression. Without medication may be cured only some weak form of reactive depression to any stress trauma. I agree with statement that active approach to treatment of therapy helps patient with this tiresomely illness, but each psycho-social engagement of depressed patient should be supervised by its therapist. Excessive engagement may be counterproductive one, if it damages global daily welfare of any patient who suffer from depression. of
emma
says:
November, 27 2013 at 5:19 am
Literally this is the best thing i have ever read on this topic: No one ever says if you just keep busy you won’t get the flu.

that says it all really!
sandracobban
says:
November, 26 2013 at 2:58 am
This for me as well,is a safe place..
Plus provides my creative expression to flower..

Well today ( key : so far) I am depressed.
Well put,Natasha,I wasn't aware you needed appointments for downs or ups!
For ME,one is as hellish as the other..
Life seems so uncomplicated for those unaffected by this life altering. &amp; deadly disease.
Frustration plays a huge part,as it's like the world spins and I'm spinning w it,faster and faster ( mania) money doesn't matter,here's the party!!!!:-)
Or I'm in slow- motion,drop things,writers block,cry over anything/everything,feel
Stupid,etc.:-(
I just think people,in general,are just so..unaware of how hard we do try how frustrating
Exhausting it is...
Perhaps if they did,they keep their so- called helpful hints,to themselves!!
Excuse the bitterness,but the whole monotony gets old...
You just..get tired of being sick.
&amp; sick of being tired.
I never considered as some do,this to be some kind of gift..or making me unique..
It's ruined my dreams &amp; so much more.
It just plain...sucks.
Rapid cycles,like myself,think have the most difficult side of the BP spectrum.
Sandra.
Mar
says:
November, 23 2013 at 9:52 pm
I'm so glad this post was written. I've heard hurtful comments of that kind many times, and all they do is make me feel inadequate. I've tried to keep myself busy, but my energy is very limited and it takes me longer to recover than it would take someone who wasn't depressed.
I have to make an extra effort to achieve the same things other people achieve without difficulty, and when I fail, I'm met with scold, as if I wasn't trying.
Your writing really is a solace, I'm glad I found it.
texas9red
says:
November, 23 2013 at 9:16 pm
I just wanted to say that I agree with this post too. This blog is great for breaking myths. I can be depressed with a lot of things to do or with nothing much going on in my life. I believe each person who has bipolar is a very unique individual and the illness will manifest itself in different ways. But that being said, the only thing that makes me feel a tiny bit better besides therapy, proper pills, friends who know I have this illness etc. is knowing myself. I know what I like and do not like very well. For example, some people enjoy having a busy work and social schedule and juggling between them. I have never been one of those people. I prefer to see one friend at a time and space out social and work stress. I will be excited about something but when its over and I have done well or had fun I must have my break. Since I know that about myself, I try to help my depression by not doing anything I hate around that time to make it worse. I think being really honest with yourself and knowing what you like and enjoy and taking good care of yourself can help a little bit when you face that dark sad pit.
Natasha Tracy
says:
November, 23 2013 at 5:36 am
Tara,

Well, I can't say what your doctor "will" do, but I would suspect she would, yes.

FYI: Psychologist can't prescribe medications - they are not medical doctor. Psychiatrists _are_ medical doctors and typically handle prescriptions.

If you are getting sufficient treatment with your existing doctor, then you may not need a psychiatrist, but if you're not getting better, then get on a waiting list for a psychiatrist and see your regular doctor in the meantime.

- Natasha Tracy
Charles Mistretta
says:
November, 23 2013 at 2:00 am
Pardon my metaphor, Depression is the stage where we act out our lives day after day, how well we perform or how poorly... The show does go on. And few know why. And no one applauds~
Gry
says:
November, 22 2013 at 9:52 pm
Thanks for your great articles (enjoyed as far away as Denmark! ;-)

I'm really confused about this theme.
When I'm really depressed and down with suicidal thoughts, I'm not able to do a thing (not even shower, - as you wrote in another article). But since I'm have rapid-cykling bipolar, I can switch from depressive to restless and working like crazy from day to day. Before I was diagnosed, I thought I was a workaholic, - enjoing the way my work avoided me from thinking about a lot of other problems.
So I'm really not sure, that the "being busy enoungh" isn't my brain going into hypomania/mania or even someting completely different.
Sue
says:
November, 22 2013 at 6:21 pm
Thank you for being you.
Tara
says:
November, 22 2013 at 9:41 am
Thank you so much for your quick response! So, if I ask my regular general doctor to prescribe it to me, she will then? That's what the nurse over the phone told me.. since my doctor and the psychologist are in the same office. I'm sorry, just never know how all this works. We live in a military town and it takes months to get an appointment for anything, so I took the soonest of what I could get, but I'm wondering if just going straight to a psychiatrist and waiting it out would have been better, but my experience with psychiatrists in the past have not gone well compared to psychologists. Thanks again!
Natasha Tracy
says:
November, 22 2013 at 7:38 am
Hi Tara,

Well, if you already have a diagnosis, the psychologist may not be looking to re-diagnose you - she may just go with the given diagnosis. Perhaps she is just meeting with you to confirm.

No, your psychologist cannot prescribe medications nor does she really have any business recommending specific ones. Only your doctor should do that. If you have a preference for a medication (which it sounds like you do) you should be completely forthright with all the professionals and just tell them that. Honestly, it shouldn't be a worry because a medication that has worked in the past is usually the first one they want to try in the future.

Be honest about your concerns and be honest about what you want because that's the best way to ensure that you'll get it.

- Natasha
Tara
says:
November, 22 2013 at 5:36 am
Hi, I love your blog. I was just wondering if you could answer this for me.. supposedly I was diagnosed as bipolar last year but no one told me (at least to my own recollection), I found out during a doctor's appt wanting to refill my prescription of zoloft at my post pregnancy check up because it was the safest thing during pregnancy.. then she tells me she can't refill it for me because 'if you're bipolar you shouldn't be taking zoloft, it could make things worse, I'll have to write you a referral to get re-evaluated' ... I had no idea what she was talking about, I had a horrible 'episode' during pregnancy and something I must have said to my therapist got me admitted into the ER, which I had to talk to a psychiatrist before I could be released. I refused to believe any of it, and took myself off the zoloft because it didn't really help anyways, what I really wanted was to be back on my lamictal but it wasn't safe during pregnancy. I had an appt to get reevaluated but then cancelled it because I started feeling good. Now, a year later after enduring the same old back and forth in my head, I'm realizing it's getting worse and the feelings are more 'stronger'... so I called to make an appt with my regular doctor to get a referral for a psychiatrist again but the nurse on the phone told me that they have a psychologist on staff and that I could just make an appt and then if any medications are needed my regular doctor can prescribe them for me. I am worried that I will be walking out with nothing, will she be able to tell me who made my diagnosis, or diagnose me herself? and can she really tell my regular doctor what to prescribe me, preferably the lamictal because it's the only medication I've ever taken that has helped, ? I'm sorry this is such a long post, but as everyone knows, it's very hard to talk about this with anyone else. After over a decade of feeling like this, on and off meds, being admitted to the ER and released multiple times, making and then cancelling my own appointments, I can't walk out empty handed. I have too much to just throw away now if I don't get help and keep it. My appointment is a month from now, which is much sooner than if I waited for a psychiatrist referral. Again, I'm sorry if this is completely ridiculous that I tried to reach out to someone over the internet, but I love your blog! and feel like I have absolutely no one else to talk to!
eea
says:
November, 21 2013 at 10:47 am
I just read an article in the December 2013 issue of Vogue about a woman who lost her three young children and her parents in a fire. I'm not going to summarize the article, but she said she was helped by a pdoc, a tdoc and the work she did to come through the depression and grief.

People confuse situational depression with brain-chemistry induced depression.

I know, before I was diagnosed bipolar, and was in despair, my grandmother would tell me to keep busy, to "take a walk around the block" and I would feel better. Of course it didn't make me feel better. I was a college student and I walked about 3 miles a day; I was very busy of course. And later, after I graduated from college, I was a research scientist and a single parent, again, very busy ... and the depressions were relentlessly persistent.

Non-mentally-ill people would like my bipolar disorder to go away: to just stop, just stop, just stop.

I'm now on disability and I have to say, my depressions are much shorter now that I'm not so busy and not so self-conscious about my bipolar disordery moods. I get to roll with my depressions, sleep when I need to, and not feel guilty about not performing work adequately.

I think a lot of people may have gone through situational depression and so, then, they think they can emphasize with someone who has clinical or bipolar depression. People have a need for control over their own lives, and control is one thing that people with bipolar disorder, to some extent, have to give up.

The Vogue article is worth reading, though, as a reminder of the differences between a (losing 3 children and your parents would qualify as an) horrific event and the resultant depression and doing absolutely nothing and still cycling into a depression. In fact, I'll probably make several copies of the article, so I can hand one to the next person who says "well, you need to keep yourself busy, not go all naval-gazey, so you can alleviate your depression."
Sarah
says:
November, 20 2013 at 3:52 pm
Hubby keeps his depression at bay by working, it's not a cure though..
This advice helped my Gran through her life too.
And, you say, you are a busy person yourself. Doesn't that help you to a degree, having a busy important schedule, doing constructive things with your anger?
Sometimes people's advice is from a place of judgement, other times from a place of goodwill. Sometimes there's a little of each.
It's up to you to determine the difference.
Are they really suggesting that you can cure your illness with their advice, thus belittling the suffering? Or are they just sharing something that they know, a drop in the ocean for you but a drop that might just help a little?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Nagas
says:
July, 3 2018 at 9:14 pm
I have tried all sorts of methods from exercising to medications and nothing seems to work for me. I am at my lowest point right now and I don't know what to do.
Brian
says:
August, 23 2018 at 11:21 am
If you are at your lowest point it can only get better from here. Just continue to breathe, continue therapy and keep your mind occupied with other activities. Make sure all friends and family know about your problems.

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